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S.S. Penton

S.S. Penton

This was a 600 ton coaster which had been tied up at the Jetty in preparation for taking aboard a load of basic slag from the Ironworks. The captain and crew had gone to Timms Coffee House, leaving only the cook on board. While they were at the pub a sudden storm blew up which broke both hawsers. The ship and cook were swept onto the beach at the mouth of Skinningrove Beck. This happened at peak spring tide so it had to remain there until the following spring tides when it was towed off undamaged.

With thanks to Mrs S Dohring for this image.

1 comment to S.S. Penton

  • Terry Shaw

    Name: SS Penton
    Official Number: 92861
    Flag: GBR
    Year Built: 1887
    Date Launched: 27/04/1887
    Date Completed: 23/05/1887
    Vessel Type: Cargo Ship
    Vessel Description: Coastal Cargo Ship
    Builder: Wood,Skinner & Company Ltd, Newcastle upon Tyne
    Yard..Bill Quay
    Yard No: 5
    Tonnage: 146grt, 78nrt
    Length: 100 feet
    Breadth: 20.1 feet
    Depth Draft: 8.1 feet
    Engine Builder: Wallsend Slipway & Engineering Company Ltd, Newcastle upon Tyne
    Engine Detail: 1 x 2 cyl, (13.5 & 24.9 x 18in)) compound engine, single shaft, 1 screw, machinery aft.
    Power..45 nhp
    Speed..10.5 knots

    Subsequent Owner and Registration History
    23/05/1887..Wilton, Allhusen, Newcastle
    13/03/1891..United Alkali Company Ltd (Eustace Carey, Manager), Liverpool
    02/03/1906..Thomas Thompson & Son, Newcastle
    18/10/1906..Owners restyled ‘T’ Steam Coasters Ltd (Robinson, Brown & Company, Managers), Newcastle.
    07/05/1917..John Harrison Ltd, London
    24/12/1917..William Darlington, Garston
    08/08/1921..Alfred H Connell, Liverpool
    20/09/1921..Solway Shipping Company Ltd (T. Wilson & Company, Managers), Whitehaven.
    01/11/1922. Lowden, Connell & Company Ltd, Liverpool appointed managers
    06/03/1923..Renamed PENTON
    16/06/1927..James D Ormiston, Leith
    22/07/1927..Alexander Hannah, Leith
    04/09/1930..Sandwich Hoy Company, (Earnest A Fagg,Manager), Sandwich

    End Year..1937

    Fate/Status: The Skinningrove Beaching
    The SS Penton a 600 ton Coaster had been tied up at the Skinningrove Jetty in preparation for taking aboard a load of basic slag from the Skinningrove Iron Works.
    The Captain and crew had gone to Timms Coffee House, leaving only the cook onboard, while they were at the coffee house a sudden storm blew up which broke both hawsers, the ship and cook were swept onto the beach at the mouth of Skinningrove Beck.
    This happened at peak spring tide so it had to remain there until the following spring tides when it was towed off undamaged.

    The Gorleston Grounding..18th January 1937
    The SS Penton a small steamship had sailed for London from Great Yarmouth in ballast (without cargo but carrying something heavy like gravel to ensure stability) when a strong gale blew up as she was off Orford Ness in Suffolk. The fierceness of the wind, heavy seas and adverse tide prompted her Master, Mr S. Ward to turn her about and head back for the shelter of Yarmouth Roads, another factor was that her crew totalled only three, insufficient to keep her engines running.
    According to the Yarmouth Mercury report in January 1937, the Master said they hoped to make the harbour but found it closed owing to low water, so they endeavoured to get the vessel’s head round but, being light she was carried towards the shore.
    As they were being driven inexorably towards the beach in darkness, the trio burned flares for help before she finally grounded 1nm South of Gorleston Coast guard Station. Despite the driving, blinding rain sweeping along the coast, those flares were spotted a mile away by coastguards based on the pier-head at Gorleston. They summoned the reserve lifeboat, the J B Proudfoot, and alerted the rocket life-saving brigade.
    Lifeboat coxswain Charlie Johnson was unable to get her close to the stricken steamer which had been driven across two sandbanks, but he kept her standing by as a precaution throughout the rescue of the Penton’s crew by the breeches buoy team who had hauled their ponderous equipment along the gale-lashed beach.
    Once in position and set up, they fired the first rocket seawards across the breakers – and succeeded in getting a line to the Penton whose crew made it secure so the breeches buoys could be hauled along it. One by one they were pulled ashore unhurt, relieved and grateful, and taken to the Mariners’ Refuge along with one of the rescuers who had waded waist-deep into the sea to help.
    At the refuge near Gorleston Pavilion the Penton’s master, her mate – Mr W Gisby – and engineer James Macdonald were given a bath, dry clothing and a hot meal. All the Penton personnel lived at Sandwich, in Kent.
    The Penton had beached head-on, but the force of the seas turned her broadside-on, her bow facing towards the pier and harbour. At low tide, it was often possible to walk around her without having to paddle.
    But the Penton saga did not end there, and official weekly casualty reports announced in the months to follow that “repeated efforts were made to refloat the Penton, but without success.” In November 1937, ten months after the 78-ton Newcastle-registered steamer ploughed on to Gorleston beach, it was reported that the Tees Towing Company had refused to put in a tender to salvage her, considering her a total loss.
    And the Salvage Association’s special officer suggested that it was advisable to sell the wreck.

    The Kettleness Wrecking: 13th November 1937
    The SS Penton was refloated from the Gorleston Sands in October 1937 and was sold for breaking. On the 13th November 1937 while in the tow of SS Queens Cross she broke free and was wrecked on Kettleness, 4 nm North of Whitby.

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